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The History of Writing

The History of Writing

Gap-fill exercise

Read the article below. Complete the sentences using the correct form of the word in brackets.
Some of the oldest writing ever found has been cave paintings. Stones, rocks and bones were the first thing people used to record writing. Rocks, walls of caves, or bones from hunting animals (carve) with pictures.
Marks (make) by cave men using sharp sticks, stones or paint. There (be) no alphabet or writing system that the cave men had, so they used pictures to write down things that were happening in their lives. Early men drew pictures on cave walls or rocks to leave messages and to honor the spirits.
One of the earliest kinds of writing - or a writing system where special symbols were used to represent things - is called cuneiform. Cuneiform consisted of symbols carved by reeds on wet clay tablets. It (use) about 3500 BC to 2000 BC by the Sumerian people who (live) in the Middle East. Cuneiform was mostly used to keep lists for (account) and to record historical events. Another type of early writing is Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Egyptians carved signs representing objects and sounds. They even had a sort of alphabet with 24 symbols that stood for certain letters.
The Egyptians also (create) Papyrus, a type of paper made by gluing together layers of a reed plant, and ink which they used to record historical events and for record keeping.
The Chinese and Japanese use ideas instead of words to represent writing. Symbols that were used in certain patterns represented ideas.
The Phoenicians (be) the first to create an alphabet - symbols that represent sounds, not pictures or ideas. The Greeks modified the Phoenician alphabet about 500 BC and it is a lot like the alphabet we use today. The word alphabet comes from the first two Greek letters - alpha and beta. The Romans (change) the alphabet when they conquered Greece.
The English alphabet still (use) the same letters, but (add) the letters J, U and W. The Romans were the first to link the letters together to make a flowing kind of writing, or cursive.


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